By Marquette Davis

Nicholas (Nicky) Tran, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) global business student, is back! In November 2016, Nicky shared with the Prescott campus some incredible experiences from traveling all over Nepal and India and Europe, including his grand plans to continue his crazy adventures abroad. 

Now, he’s back, and boy, does he have stories to share! Nicky spent the last two semesters studying first in Hong Kong and then cruising with Semester at Sea, exploring several countries. When asked whether there ever a time he wished he hadn’t gone away on two back-to-back semesters, he promptly answered “No.” He carried on, “Once you go, you get excited and want to see new things and it’s not so scary anymore.”  

How long has he postponed his graduation? Good news is, he’s only postponed it by one semester! Yet he’s seen the world. As a matter of fact, if you want to graduate now, but want to study abroad one more time, you can always have your diploma withheld as you complete one more “bonus” credit – best of both worlds.  

In January 2017, Nicky left for Hong Kong for ERAU Prescott’s first ever exchange with the University of Hong Kong. There he studied Cantonese Chinese, Foreign Trade and Investment in China, Economic and Globalization Issues and Challenges, and Business. Lucky for him, all the classes there were in English, so things went down without a hitch.  

Due to the ease and inexpensiveness of travel, Nicky got to go all over Asia, even visiting Vietnam, his home country, three times throughout the semester. Nicky traveled to Pingxi, Taiwan, for the lantern festival. Typically, at tourist hotspots and big cities, an official lights the lantern for you. Nicky got out of the tourist arena and in the small town of Pingxi and was able to light and release his own lantern. 

While in Hong Kong, Nicky was also able to reconnect with ERAU alumna Vrushali Suvarna. Nicky made a little blog of his own when he got to Hong Kong, a food blog! For a tasty window to Nicky’s adventures, follow his Instagram food blog [].  Nicky’s favorite blog on Hong Kong travel, he shared, is []. 

Nicky was first convinced to spend a Semester at Sea— three months traveling the waters around Africa and Europe while studying— by his friend, Lauren Barthenheier (who’s beautiful story was published in a previous article). The only deterrent was the cost, but there was funding in the form of scholarships through the Semester at Sea program. 

During his Semester at Sea, Nicky took courses in global studies, international business management, coastal environmental ecology (he couldn’t get into the popular oceanography course), and fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Beside classes, there were evening seminars, panels, and club meetings to build communities with others who share similar interests and passions.  

Beginning in Germany, Nicky saw Spain, Ghana, South Africa, got stuck in a storm so missed Mauritius, but he saw India (again), then Vietnam (again), then China to Japan, and finally back to San Diego on Dec. 20, 2017. “Around the world, then back home for Christmas,” Nicky told me with a laugh.  

Nicky shared one of the greatest advice he received from a Semester at Sea alumnus: just get enough sleep to function. Living by this mentality, Nicky did not miss a beat or a moment in his travels, telling me, “Check stuff off your bucket list while you have the financial aid to do it!”  

What would Nicky tell you prospective study abroad-ers? “Be in the present, don’t plan too much. Things come together over time. There’s always resources like travel blogs but it is always up to you to decide what you want to do and what you want to see.” 

Nicky Tran is now also the Global Ambassador for Semester at Sea, so if you are interested, get in touch with him at []. 

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